Superdrug has cut the price of the morning-after pill to £13.49, almost half the average charged in pharmacies across the UK.
A spokesperson for Superdrug told The Pharmaceutical Journal the move was in response to “huge demand” to make emergency hormonal contraception more accessible.
The pill, which is already cheaper in many parts of Europe, is currently available free of charge from GPs and some health centres and clinics. But for those who need it at evenings and weekends, the high price of £25 per pill can be prohibitive.
Although some pharmacies can supply EHC under a local patient group direction for free, the availability of the medicine under this scheme is geographically patchy.
The British Pregnancy Advisory Service welcomed the news saying it was an ‘important step’ and has called on other pharmacies to follow Superdrug’s lead.
Ann Furedi, chief executive, said: “We know the high cost of emergency contraception can be a major barrier to women accessing it when their regular method fails.
“Superdrug has illustrated that it is perfectly possible to sell this safe and effective medication to women at a significantly more affordable price than is currently on offer. There is frankly now no excuse for others not to do the same.”
Sandra Gidley, chair of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society English Pharmacy Board, said any move which removes barriers so women can take more control of their sexual health was to be welcomed.
“This is good news for patients,” she said, “£25 is a large amount for people to find when accessing this service, especially when some areas have limited free provision.”
But Anthony McCarthy, education and communications director at the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, said: “It should worry us that Superdrug is being praised by the abortion industry for pushing drugs which, as well as possibly destroying early human lives, can seriously damage the women who take them. This has nothing to do with medicine or any serious approach to cutting STDs or unplanned pregnancies. That Superdrug and the likes of BPAS are happy to promote failed initiatives for profit at the expense of society tells us much about their priorities.”
- On 28 June 2017, this story was updated with details local patient directions.